In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray had similar ideas for transmitting speech telegraphically. They even filed patents on the same day.
Today, Bell is credited with inventing the first telephone and is considered one of the most influential figures in human history. Gray is best known for losing out to Alexander Graham Bell for the telephone patent.
Why is that?
The same reason Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest and most influential people in the world and the Winklevoss twins are best known for suing Zuckerberg, claiming he stole their idea.
Vision without execution is fantasy. It doesn’t matter how great an idea is if you don’t do something with it.
Steve Jobs famously said “Real artists ship.” It’s better to ship something good and iterate on it once you’ve brought it to life than to spend years trying to make it perfect and miss your window of opportunity.
So here’s my advice:
- Talk less and do more. Turn your idea from something abstract into something concrete. Ideas aren’t useful if they just stay ideas. Mark Zuckerberg built and shipped Facebook. All the Winklevoss twins had was an idea. Think about where they both are today. Who would you rather be?
- Don’t worry about what other people think. Do your friends, family, significant other or co-workers think your idea sucks? It doesn’t matter. All great ideas are initially resisted because they change things in a big way and people are fundamentally scared of change. Don’t be discouraged if other people don’t like your idea. All that matters is that you believe in it.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. I know failure can be intimidating, but it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all. Do you really want to be on your deathbed wondering what would have happened if you had made one serious attempt at your big idea when you were younger? Or do you want to get over your fear of failure and have a go at it while you still can?
Everyone has ideas. What separates the best from the rest is the ability to execute on them. So get out there and make something!
Charlie Tibshirani is a product manager at Axcient. He first shipped something at the age of 10 when he drew a cartoon of a duck that was published in his local newspaper.